As the Covid-19 pandemic first swept the United States and Canada in the Spring of 2020, glass studios were forced to shut their doors to the public. While studios turned to online classes and exhibitions, announced relief funds, and published extensive lists of resources for artists idled by the shut-down, glass-making professionals waited patiently to get back into the studio workspace equipped with actual furnaces, tools, and equipment to once again work with their chosen material. As state by state, the U.S. tentatively opens its doors, all eyes are on the best practices to follow to keep staff, renters, and students safe from the ongoing threat of contagion. In anticipation of tomorrow's Glass Art Society (GAS) community conversation (online on July 29, 2020 from 11 AM to 12 PM PDT), where panelists Anjali Srinvasan (Massachusetts College of Art and Design), Brian Kibler (UrbanGlass), Brynn Hurlson (Public Glass), Jiyong Lee (Southern Illinois University), and Jens Pfeifer (The Large Glass Department at Gerrit Rietveld Academie) will lead a public discussion, the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet reached out nine studio heads to talk about health and safety in the studio environment.
A native of Germany, Anna Mlasowsky is an artist, innovator, and newly-minted gallerist who currently resides in the Seattle area. Since the pandemic, she's been faced with new visa requirements and travel bans on the one hand, and the postponement of scheduled residencies and exhibitions on the other. In response to these setbacks, delays, and uncertainties, Mlasowsky has devoted herself to transforming her residence into a gallery space to support emerging artists who are gravely under-represented in the art world, and immigrant artists whose status is made precarious by the pandemic. Via telephone, the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet recently had the opportunity to interview Mlasowsky about her recent projects, her ongoing experiments in glass processes, and her new gallery space.
The Museum of Glass in Tacoma announced an open call for artists from all mediums to participate in the Museum's2021 Visiting Artist Residency Program, with the caveat that the program will go forward if the pandemic allows institutions to reopen. Each year the Museum invites artists to apply for the Visiting Artist Residency to further their exploration of glass medium or continue working on a current series, and it remains one of the most sought-after opportunities to make work in the field. An example of the program’s notable residents are glass artists Dante Marioni and John Kiley who recently completed a collaborative project at the MOG’s Hot Shop in March of 2020.
The very things that combined to fuel the ascent of art and craft fairs -- teeming crowds, new connections between collectors from far and wide and gallery reps, in-person appearances by artists, a place to survey the art landscape under one roof -- are making these large-scale events ill-suited to the social-distancing guidelines as the United States continues to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the 2019 report of The Art Basel and UBS Market, “art fairs continue to be a central part of the art market,” as art-fairs proliferated from fewer than 60 in the early 2000s to almost 300 today. In 2020, the pandemic has upended the art fair phenomenon, and the in-person events have given way to online alternatives. While some museums and art galleries are opening to the public with careful measures to ensure social-distancing, many art fairs are migrating to virtual interations.
Journey to M31, A Toilet Transformation by Steffen Dam is a new site-specific permanent installation at Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, a contemporary glass museum in Denmark. Dam is a Danish artist who's been working with glass for over 30 years. Originally trained as a toolmaker, Dam merges casting and grinding techniques from other mediums, and has pioneered a unique body of work that frequently references aquatic specimens. The installation, his most comprehensive work to date, was made possible through a donation from The New Carlsberg Foundation. It occupies the former restroom on the first floor of the museum and the artist, who is represented in the U.S. by New York's Heller Gallery, suggests it be considered as a sort of 'Cabinet of Curiosities.'
Andrew Erdos, an American sculptor based in Brooklyn, New York, has been experimenting with the medium of glass since he was 15 years old. Now 35, he has just unveiled his latest work, a monumental mixed-media work entitled Not for the Peak, but for the Mountain (2020), which was commissioned by and is being exhibited at The Chimney Gallery, NYC. Since June 2015, The Chimney Gallery, based in Brooklyn, New York, has been exhibiting both multidisciplinary and international artists in various exhibition venues in the United States, France, Mexico and Senegal. They re-purpose historical and industrial buildings to house their exhibitions in addition to artist workshops, live events and art professionals talks. The sculpture was made at his alma mater Alfred University's National Casting Center. (Erdos holds a 2007 BFA from Alfred University).
Czech-born Martin Janecký is a renowned contemporary glass artist whose uncannily realistic glass sculptures have left audiences speechless. On Saturday, July 11 at 1 pm EST, the Czech-born artist is offering an opportunity to virtually touring his new studio space in Prague where the artist will also discuss his upcoming and current works. The virtual visit is organised by the Sandra Ainsley Gallery in Toronto.
Opeyemi "Ope" Omojola was an artist-in-residence at the UrbanGlass Bead Project in the Fall of 2019 (Disclosure: The Hot Sheet is a program of the nonprofit art center UrbanGlass.) and she is looking forward to returning to the studios as borosilicate glass is figuring more and more into her work. Omojola owns Octave Jewelry, a company that is inspired by the balance between sharp geometry and soft organic form, showcasing kinetic pieces are inspired by both the infinite malleability of metal and the permanence of stone.
A chance meeting between a chef apprentice and a leading American glassblower became a unique creative partnership that's evolved over decades from apprentice to assistant to full artistic collaborator. Both John Kiley and Dante Marioni are among the most-skilled American practitioners of traditional Italian glassblowing and acolytes of legendary Italian maestro Lino Tagliapietra. But each is advancing his uniquely contemporary approach to the time-honored process — Kiley in cutting away and exploding form, Marioni in taking vessels to new levels of scale and complexity of surface patterning. An opportunity to join forces in an aesthetic adventure came when they won a week-long residency at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, which went ahead even as the Covid-19 pandemic first took root in Washington state last March. They were the last residency to be completed before a state-wide shutdown that remains in effect.
With the uncertainty around containing the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States in general, and Washington state in particular, Pilchuck Glass School has announced it is cancelling all of its summer and fall programs and residencies for 2020. Included in the announcement was the positive news that an anonymous donor has gifted Pilchuck with sufficient funds to pay all artists who had been scheduled to teach the cancelled classes.
Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.